Hungover…again

To ease the lingering symptoms of my book hangover, today I want to share my thoughts on Reaping Angel, the second book in S.L. Saboviec’s Fallen Redemption series. I read this book even faster than I read the first one, and I find myself wanting to reread it already, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The plot definitely thickens in this book; by the end of it, I wasn’t sure who to trust.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Adventure time!

Can you believe June is half gone already? It seems to me like school just ended. Hard to believe that was two weeks ago already. At this rate, my little Cricket bug will be heading off to kindergarten before I know it!

*counts weeks left of summer*

Only ten weeks left. That’s not nearly enough summer! 😀

I had great plans for this summer. Plans for writing and querying. Plans for camping and adventure. Plans for fun. But after a spring filled with revisions left me sapped of my writerly mojo, I haven’t written a word in weeks. So what have I been doing?

Well, I have been camping. Twice, even. We had an adventure at the campground pond this past weekend, and an adventure in an antique store on our first camping trip. Said antique store had a calligraphy set, complete with a pen, four nibs, ink, and instructions for several different calligraphy styles, for only a dollar. I’ve taken up the pen a couple of times, but with less-than-stellar results. I can’t wait till I have more than a half hour at the very end of a long day to get in some practice. 🙂

I’ve listened to birds singing, cats fighting, and thunder crashing. I’ve seen roads washed out and rivers raging. And I’ve read a couple of fantastic books.

Yes, books. Glorious, wonderful books.

I’ve always got something to read with me, but it’s been a while since that something was a book. And not just one book – two books! I’ve read two books in the last two weeks, and it’s been a very long time since that happened last.

Oh, you want to know which books I’ve been reading? Very well, then… (Please be warned: mild spoilers lie ahead.) 🙂

Reaping time!

Reaping-Angel-Book-Blitz

No, I’m not in danger of participating in the next Hunger Games. 😀

If I haven’t mentioned it lately, I love being part of the writing community. I met S.L. Saboviec thanks to the fabulous Michelle Hauck and one of her awesome critique workshops, and am seriously glad to have her as a critique partner. The good she has done for my writing is immeasurable. So naturally, I am super excited to announce that Reaping Angel, the newest book in her Fallen Redemption series, releases today!

Reaping Angel is the sequel to Guarding Angel, which received an honorable mention in the 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards: “…A fascinating story of a particularly loving guardian angel. Overall, the writing is emotionally grounded, character-focused, and technically superior…”

Enael starts picking up the pieces of her decisions from the first book and comes face-to-face with her nemesis from centuries ago. If you enjoy fantasy or paranormal, this series is not to be missed!

GARA Covers

About the book

After the battle at the Bastille, the Council of Seraphim offers reluctant demons Enael and Kaspen a chance to return to Heaven – but only after they’ve completed sufficient penance. Ready to move past the ugly chapter in their lives, they settle into their new assignments.

Until Enael’s former lover…

Tomb-yard Follies, a review

tyfSo my reading has been a little slow of late. Between sick kids and school events, revisions and renovations, it’s been a little hectic around these parts. But over the weekend, I managed to carve out enough time to read Tomb-yard Folliesthe latest in Jim Webster’s Port Naain Intelligencer series, and these be my thoughts.

To begin with, I thought it was great fun. The beginning, in particular, had me intrigued. After all, nothing breeds potential conflict quite like a mysterious group of people in robes ambling through an orgy.

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

Getting back to the point, this was a bit different from the last two in that Tallis and Shena appeared less than they did in previous stories, but it was interesting to get more of a feel for Benor. I’d have liked a bit more in the way of explanation about Tizah, but perhaps the enigma that is Tizah will be further expounded upon in later stories?

Please? *looks hopeful*

Anyway, this was a lovely way to dispose of an afternoon, and I can’t wait to see what Mr. Webster comes up with next.

To get your copy of Tomb-yard Follies, head on over to Amazon or Amazon UK!

(c) 2016. All rights reserved.

A Much Arranged Marriage, or, Further Adventures With Tallis and Friends

Cover A much arranged marriageAs I said, I spent a little time reading over the long Christmas weekend, and one of the things I read was A Much Arranged Marriage, the newest book in The Port Naain Intelligencer series by Jim Webster. As usual, poet Tallis Steelyard and friends have become embroiled in a mystery, though this time in a rather less dramatic fashion than in Flotsam or Jetsam. But just because it didn’t start with a bang doesn’t mean it didn’t finish with one:

Benor is asked to help warn off a blackmailer who appears to be threatening a young girl’s chances of marriage. But the deeper he digs, the more dangerous things become.

It all starts with a request for help from Tallis Steelyard’s patron, Mistress Bellin Hanchkillian. She seeks to help the granddaughter of a childhood friend, but nothing about the situation is exactly what it seems. Once Tallis and Benor were on the job, I couldn’t stop reading – I had to know what would happen next. I read the whole book in one sitting, which is both good and bad. It’s great because it’s nice to read something a little shorter every now and then, but it also kind of stinks because I’m always left wanting more. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t have to wait long between installments! 🙂

If you haven’t yet read A Much Arranged Marriage, what are you waiting for? It’s a great book, and I highly recommend it.

(c) 2015. All rights reserved.

And now for the review!


Yes, that’s right, it’s review time! Because nothing says weekend like books, glorious books. 🙂

Okay, fine, nothing says it’s the weekend like sleeping in, but that’s not the point.

Books. That’s the point.

And this book is a fantastic one.

Literally. 🙂

The people here are as harsh as the landscape, but they’re not without their warmth, and in a land of perpetual winter, warmth is important. Heck, even in a world not cursed with perpetual winter, warmth is important. The warmth Marishka finds is not exactly conventional, which makes her story all the more intriguing.

How do you survive as an outcast in a place as harsh as Ingary? Beyond that, how do you thrive?

Read this book and find out. Seriously, read it – if I keep talking, there will be spoilers. 🙂

Bleizgeist is wonderfully evocative and beautifully written, the kind of story that sticks with a person. I can’t wait to read it again.

You can find Bleizgeist for sale at Amazon US and UK, and you can even get it in paperback! And with a cover as beautiful as this one, you’ll want it in paperback. 😉

In case you missed the blurb earlier this week, here ’tis again:

Ingary is a harsh land. Cursed by a perpetual winter, the isolated little town has all but forget why they worship the wolf.

Marked by magic she cannot control, Marishka is an outcast. Alone and starving she is plagued by geiste, the unconscious minds of the people of Ingary, roaming the wilderness as they sleep. Attracted to the gramarye in Marishka’s blood, the geiste give her no rest. Losing herself to madness, she is saved when she chances to fall in love. But when her affair is discovered, all hope is taken from her.

Beaten and lovelorn, she resigns herself to death.

And then the wolf walks through her door, and Marishka recalls the meaning of Bleizgeist—the spirit of the wolf.

And if you were wondering about the author, you can find her at her website as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and at the Bookshine Bandit.

(c) 2015. All rights reserved.

Love in the Dark


Today I’m happy to have one final guest post from Hazel Butler. Enjoy! 🙂

A friend of mine read Bleizgeist shortly after I’d finished writing it. Their response was two-fold. First, they asked me how I managed to write such dark fiction. Then, they asked me if I didn’t think it was a little too dark.

I was able to easily answer the first question.

I write a lot, and most of what I write is dark. I believe the reason for this is largely to do with my world-view, and my life experiences. I have not had an easy time over the years, for various reasons. The world has not been kind to me, and it is often equally cruel to others. Pretending this isn’t the case does nothing to improve the universe, it simply gives people a warped view of what reality should look like. I find it easy to write dark fiction—and in particular dark fantasy—because that is the world in which I have dwelt since I was young. It’s the only world I truly know. One of my favourite authors, C.S. Lewis, once said that, ‘Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage’. I couldn’t agree with this sentiment more, however I am also of the opinion that it does children—and adults—very little good to give them the impression there is no such thing as evil in the world, that good always triumphs, and that doing the right thing never necessitates an alarming degree of personal sacrifice.

Sometimes there are no happy endings.

Sometimes the princess falls under an evil curse and never wakes up.

Sometimes it’s Prince Charming who causes her downfall.

Dark Lords triumph (if you don’t believe me, then how do you explain David Cameron?).

Heroes fail.

Grand adventures may…

Why Write Strong Female Leads? Because You’re Still Asking That Question.


Back again today is author Hazel Butler to talk about strong female characters and what makes hers different. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!

One of my favourite writers (and directors), Joss Whedon, famously recounted an incident with a journalist during an Equality Now speech in 2006. It went something like this: the journalist asked, ‘So, why do you write these strong female characters?’, and in the style we have come to love and adore from the man who brought us Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, and The Avengers (amongst other things), Whedon simply responded, ‘Because you’re still asking me that question’.

I’m fairly certain that everyone who has ever written a tale involving strong female characters—in particular a lead character—has been asked some variation of, ‘Why did you make your women so strong?’, and/or, ‘Why did you make your hero a woman?’

caI find it mildly ridiculous, but sadly not surprising, that this still happens. But it was a comment from a friend of mine after she read my first novel, Chasing Azrael, that really got me thinking about this. The friend in question is no chauvinist. She’s no stranger to strong female characters, in fact she’s all for them. What surprised me was her assertion that it was the first time she’d read anything wherein there was a strong female protagonist whose strength depended, not on her physical power or supernatural abilities, but due to her strength of character.

Andee Tilbrook is not a strong character because…

Unleash the Night: Dark Fantasy and Allegory


Today fantasy author Hazel Butler joins me to share her thoughts on Dark Fantasy and allegory.

Dark Fantasy has always been my favourite genre. Whether I’m reading or writing, it is a genre I return to again and again. This is partly due to my love of the dark, the gothic, the macabre, and the vaguely terrifying, but it is mainly due to the characters and meaning that often come with Dark Fantasy.

Mark Lawrence, Anne Rice, Joe Abercrombie, Stephen King, Clive Barker, even Neil Gaiman and Robin Hobb exist in the murky realms of Dark Fantasy.

It’s not a coincidence that almost all my favourite authors are on that list.

This is a genre that allows, far more than most others, for the consideration of characters, themes, and actions, which would otherwise be considered unpalatable in mainstream fiction. The ability this genre has to reveal and explore the darkest aspects of human nature and experience has always been appealing.

When I first put pen to paper to scratch out an outline for Bleizgeist, I had no idea it was going to be a Dark Fantasy tale. In fact, I was intending to write something a little more mainstream, a little more literary, something after the fashion of Rita Mae Brown or Sarah Waters.

What I ended up with was considerably different, but it should not have come as a surprise.

The character I had in mind, right from the very start, was a girl whose inherent nature was for some reason taboo. This made her an outcast, with few friends, no family, and only one means of survival—using the very nature that cursed her to her advantage.

I was looking for…